Are you a list maker? If you aren’t, allow me to introduce you to the inner-workings of my psyche. I make long-term to-do lists, daily to-do lists, personal to-do lists, grocery lists, home improvement project lists, packing lists—the “list” goes on and on! And yes, I have even been known to add making another list as a line item on my daily to-do list.
In the musical Annie, the song, “It’s the Hard-Knock Life” takes the audience into the daily struggles of the orphans who live in the terrible orphanage run by Miss Hannigan. There is hard work with little pay off. Tears and heartache are part of the daily emotional roller coaster. The girls are sad, lonely and often hopeless. As the song builds the chorus of girls deliver a powerful line, “No one cares for you a smidge when you’re in an orphanage! It’s the hard knock life.”
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.
“I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.
The first musical I was remember watching as a child was Annie. I did not see it on the stage, but on the big screen. It was the 1982 movie starring Aileen Quinn, Albert Finney, and Carol Burnett. I was thrilled to see a movie with music, dancing and a good story that held my attention. Later, my parents bought a VHS copy of Annie. I am sure I wore it out.
I just didn’t want to go.
Drive two long hours to St. Louis… to do what? Listen to children sing and dance? Are you serious? There’s Nerf football to be played! I’m the best quarterback in the neighborhood! My friends need me! I can’t go!
Nicholas Tate is 20-year old college student from Newcastle, Oklahoma. Nicholas, like most college students, is working a part-time job at Walmart to help cover his expenses. When he is at work, Nicholas is a cashier.
Trusting God when good news arrives? No problem. I see His hand at work, His unconditional love in action and gratitude fills my heart.
But when bad news comes knocking, my gratitude can easily turn into attitude.
My mother grew up in a small community in southwest Oklahoma. She shared with me several great stories of her time in this little farming town. It was easy to tell that, although her childhood was not filled with material things, it was a full life surrounded by family and friends. My mom’s childhood was not always easy, but she saw much of it as a blessing.
And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying ,“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”